Stop faking it if you want to make it
Stop faking it if you want to make it
Plenty of practice owners still use the bank account as a business dashboard and have no idea who on their team is profitable.

By Hayley Robins, Senior Accountant at Hive Business

It’s fashionable to say we live in a new era of fake news but I’m afraid this is fake news. Read George Orwell or consider any conflict in history and you’ll see that truth has always bent to power. We all ignore inconvenient little facts in our daily lives too just to get along.

Herein lies quite an important problem if you run a business, because you can’t run one for long by ignoring facts. Or if you can you will only realise a fraction of your business’s potential.

This problem goes all the way up to the top of the global economy. Last year a Google engineer sick of diversity meetings posted an internal memo arguing the company’s attempts at recruiting more women were misguided because female preferences outweighed employer bias as a reason for male-female disparity in tech.

At the top of the memo James Damore described what he saw as the harmful effects of taboo in bullet points:

  • Google’s [left] political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
  • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.

Before Damore was sacked remotely two days later Google vice president of diversity, integrity and governance Danielle Brown saw no irony in writing: “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.”

I’m afraid dental principals, like Brown, are world class fact dodgers. They often tell me “x has happened because of y” but when I drill into the numbers it hasn’t. They have a favourite associate who has been with them for years, and their patients love them. Yet this person’s average daily yield (ADY) shows they are costing the business money.

I often experience it the other way too: they have a “pain in the arse associate” who only comes in three days a week and who they dislike because they feel this person is “useless”. Yet the ADY turns out to be formidable, and meanwhile the associate is thinking: “I’m working my arse off but you’re not giving me high value work.”

It still shocks me how nonchalantly business owners harbour strong opinions with so little data. Plenty of practice owners still use the bank account as a business dashboard and have no idea who on their team is profitable.

As I’ve noted here before, getting interested in the numbers might feel awkward — especially just before Christmas — and trading blind might be a luxury you can afford because you’re earning enough to be able to subsidise your business. You might not want to know that some people are taking advantage of you.

Sooner or later though you are going to have to be more mature about it, and if you don’t have the inclination you can outsource it to an agency like Hive. We won’t use your time.

  • we can install a finance system with the help of your practice manager or other trusted staff member
  • we can dial into your front desk software remotely to lift data
  • we can collate that information and present it back to you in one document every quarter
  • you get six KPIs
  • and the most valuable piece of all, the one that enables you to act: our interpretation and recommendation, based on our large client base

Sound good? Get in touch on 01872 300232 or email [email protected].

Hayley Robins
By Hayley Robins Senior Accountant
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
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